Reviewed by MJBrady on 13 May 2002
I have to admit, back in 1990 hearing this cd was a real pleasure, as it seemed like good old fashioned fusion and progressive rock were all but non-existant. Sure Joe Satriani was putting out some interesting instrumental guitar cds, but this guitar cd was very different from those. Passion and Warfare was a perfect unity of over the top guitar playing and progressive music influences, and remains, perhaps Vai's most ambitious and progressive cd to date. The sounds and riffs contained are still unearthly to my ears, Vai's ambition and desire to be ultra creative were in peak form, as he had just enough of the Zappa influence mixed into this bizarre progressive metal fusion cd to make it a classic. I really wish Vai would resort back to this style of writing, as he shows that few players can compare to his genius as a writer when he is totally focused in on this kind of ambitious composition. It seems as of late the G3 touring has had an effect on his musical aspirations, as he sounds more like Satriani on his most recent cds. Vai shows that instrumental music can actually have personality, mystique as well as moments of virtuosity. Vai shows on this cd what it is like to really have full command and mastery of the electric guitar, the use of effects and technique create a huge sound that give the illusion keyboards and many other instruments, Hendrix would be proud to know that this is what kind of impact he had on the guitar, and what kind of potential the future would disclose for it. With the onslaught of players that are creating instrumental cds to date, few if any have made one with the same kind of substance as Passion and Warfare, this cd can be used as a measuring stick for the others to be compared, it really is that good.